1498 Straight Outta The Holy Land.

The Bible, and its various offshoots, is a mish mash of content. It varies wildly in tone from moment to moment in some cases. It contradicts itself, praises punishment, and punishes praise, to the point of seeming schizophrenic at times. Which is probably why its such a good book to look at for understanding humanity. We’re just on this planet flailing our arms around like Muppets pretty much all the time. Because we understand, innately, that were a tiny part of something we can’t understand and it makes us insane. We want things to make sense, we’re wired to see patterns in everything, but sometimes the scope of what we’re looking at is so huge we just lose our shit over it. The bible is that struggle put to paper.
A lot of the old testament is people trying to make a deal with god. We do these things and you promise not to burn/flood/or otherwise randomly destroy whatever we do or build. The book of Job goes so far as to show you dude getting fucked over mercilessly to drive home the point that all this shut is part of some greater plan, and really, when you get down to it, God is a pretty chill being.
The new testament is like this weird sequel that deviates wildly from the first movie. This time god’s a dude, but also he’s his own son, walking around telling people to be cool, because everyone who isn’t cool will get straight up boned when he goes to tell his dad self what’s up. Also there’s a ghost! Jesus’s story has all the best stuff in it, stuff we still love: Betrayal, drama, magic, whores, the undead. It hits every note in the song of entertainment. Its kind of like an anthology wherea bunch of friends sat down to do it and then some of them had fights so they didn’t get all the books in, because Luke was a Dick, and John wanted more close up magic, so they couldn’t all agree on a theme, or how the backstory went. Inspired from the divine perhaps, but undoubtedly written by humans.
I assume the other spinoffs are similarly weird. What I know of them suggests as much. Use and misuse, control and chaos, forever at odds on the page.

In case you don’t have notifications set up for patreon the new story update is there. I’m also periodically adding more special character portraits. So far it’s Jo, Ed, Nina, and Alex pretty soon. I had trouble finding images of people to give as references for some of them. I still haven’t found any Mikes I really like. Anyway, the link is Nina on the sidebar as always. I’m trying to set up other tenth anniversary surprises too, but I hate to get your hopes up at the moment. Just know that I’m trying to do some stuff I hope you’ll enjoy, especially if you’ve been with me the whole ten years.


The Gospels according to Mary Magdalene, James, and Judas are some pretty weird stuff. Like so weird the first council was all like “yeah, Revelations is cool, but Mary and James are way out there.”

I’m not quite sure which first council you’re referring to, but by the time of the FIRST first one, those books hadn’t been written yet (the Jerusalem Council is mentioned in the book of Acts, which implies to me that it took place before THAT book was even written. And very few Biblical scholars deny that the Acts of the Apostles should be in the canon.)

Rukduk is almost certainly referring to the First Council of Nicaea, which took place in 325 AD. However, he also appears to be operating on the misconception that it was the Council of Nicaea that decided to exclude the books of James, Mary, and Judas from Canon. It was… a bit more complicated than that.

(It should be noted there are a lot of misconceptions about the First Council of Nicaea floating around the Internet presented as fact, due in no small part to The Da Vinci Code.)

Eh, I was a bit misinformed as of the posting. I am not exactly sure when the gospels I mentioned were deemed apocrypha, so I just went with Nicea, although I guess Chalcedon probably would have been a better guess.

I would really like to respond to this, but I don’t know if I can do it justice here. Nevertheless, I will do my best and try to be as clear and concise as I can.

First off, it’s a shame that you read it as a kid without anyone there to help you out. Context is a key issue–we can forget that the bible uses metaphor in many cases, particularly the parables of Jesus, to explain complex ideas with simple imagery to people with a first-century understanding of the world. Much of what is in Revelation is frightening to us, who can understand allusions to catastrophe as a result of Hollywood, but imagine dealing with that kind of thing when the best you can do is manage a herd or track money for the local king.

Second, there is a progression from the Old Testament to the New. God’s relationship with man went through a lot of problems, primarily through man’s disobedience, and he got punished as a result. And the punishments were pretty extreme, because of how it was back then. The laws were put in place not for Israel to become worthy through following them, but to realize they needed God when they couldn’t measure up–the law was a benchmark, not the method to salvation.

The New Testament was the fulfillment of many prophecies, as well as the knowledge that man could be saved by grace, if he was willing to accept it. Sins didn’t have to hold us down or define us or limit us. The bill was paid, now all we have to do is realize that – the jail cell door is open, we just have to walk through it by accepting Christ as the one who saved us.

Revelation is both sad and uplifting. The sad is that the world is going to face the worst period in history. The good news is that Jesus will come in, end evil’s hold on the world, and make everything great again at the end of it, to guide the world through the rest of eternity.

I could go into detail, but again, don’t want to spam the webpage with a 10-page essay. Questions will be answered.

Revelations is pretty trippy, and it’s controversial even among the church. The most popular reading of it is that it was an attempt by John of Padymos to scare early Christians back on the right path, as many of them were falling prey to the Roman empire’s cult of emperor worship. Revelations was written in what was called the Apocalyptic style, (which actually means heavily symbolic).

The Old Testament, I’ve given a lot of thought for that. God does a lot of strange stuff in that that doesn’t seem to make sense from a NT perspective. Now I think that he was just working with what he had available to him, and speaking with his people in a way they would understand. Nothing he said would stop his people from taking slaves, so there were limits placed on slavery, they were going to attack other people no matter what he did so he had them attack people who had fallen into evil.

All while this was going on he slowly moved his people towards a place where Jesus Christ could be born and have the most impact. This is what I get from my reading.

Ezekiel is pretty trippy as well, pretty much any book where God appears physically is trippy (not to mention provide plenty of “evidence” for Ancient Astronaut theorists).

CG Jung, Freud’s star student, suggested that dealing with Job was a turning point for God, who had hitherto been this mercuric and temperamental deity.

Jung writes that Job acquitted himself through his problems better than God did in letting Job be afflicted and God decided to acqauint himself better with the human condition. He first came to the world as Christ, taking the high, royal, sinless road. Sending the Holy Spirit out to the world is God taking in the world through less-perfect eyes. Ours.

Jung considered this idea to be so controversial (It was the early 20th Century) that the book he wrote was only published after his death.

“A lot of the old testament is people trying to make a deal with god.”
and the story of Jephthah https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jephthah shows why this is a bad idea. Jephthah gets done over as thoroughly as anyone in a fairy tale who tries to make a deal with a genie, goblin or witch.

actually it was Jepthah’s daughter who gets it. Phyllis Tribal has a wonderful book called Texts of Terror that looks at women of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament scriptures) and how in some ways there is no way to redeem these texts and how the women are treated in them. The concubine is another story as is the story of the women that were kidnapped by the tribe of Benjamin.

I think religion can be a great thing when used correctly and though I’m not religious, believe that it has its place in our world.

Its place in this comic though… I love between failures, but I feel like this religion talk is taking forever. I understand you have to pace the comic for both the people who read one shot or every week, but I’m afraid it’s become a little mundane.

I’ll continue to read anyhow, hoping the story returns to what it once was.

Nope, it’s theological debate from here on out. Sorry.


Please, could you do a few weeks, where:

Carol and Thomas, and Jo + Reggie, find a time machine…and then they have an all night drinking party, with Pope John Paul II, Alice Cooper, Mick Jagger, The Supremes, and Mister Rogers, and Alan Hale Jr.,…and they talk about religion + moral codes, and Woodstock, + Taco Bell, all night long?

I’d LOVE to see THAT story written out! :D

I didn’t really get into religion until I was in my teens when I moved from sunny California to the bible belt with my family. I had a real rocky relationship with religion ever since. A combination of trying to understand the bible and the seeming wide spread hypocrisy within even the small churches hurt what little faith I had budding.
Later on I converted to Catholicism because I had started studying it as my soon to be wife was Catholic and I decided that of all the various denominations it made the most sense.
That, unfortunately, lasted about a year as I committed to rereading the bible and I got to the part of Moses and the Pharaoh.

I realized it basically went like this.
Moses- Hey Pharaoh. Me and my people need a few days off to go pray to our God.
Pharaoh- No.
Moses goes to tell God. God has Moses perform a miracle. Repeat a couple times.
Pharaoh still refuses. God sends his first plague.
Moses- Let us go pray in the desert.
Pharaoh- OK! Sheesh. Go pray. Whatever. Just stop this.
God harden’s Pharaoh’s heart.
Pharaoh- Whoops nevermind! For some reason I’m a glutton for punishment! No field trip for you guys.
Another plague.
Pharaoh- Ok Ok. Go pray.
God uses Harden Pharaoh’s heart. It was super effective!
Pharaoh- NEVERMIND I’M APPARENTLY A SIM NOW. No praying for you.
Repeat until God offs a bunch of people as the Jews flee from Egypt.

This more than anything extinguished my faith in the Bible.

*blinks* I was supposed to be scared?

Horror movies that I wasn’t supposed to be watching threw me off more.

Incidentally. If you ever decide to relive movie watching as a junior higher by tracking down a copy of the 1981 Ghost Story movie that was replayed on tv periodically.

Just remember it was edited for tv back then and live with it.

Otherwise, you’ll be as surprised as I was when a full frontal nude man with everything seen was falling screaming out of a tall building and landed hard at the side of a pool. Dead on impact

John Carpenter’s The Thing and the original Jaws were pretty good at being scary, but the rest of the horror movies I’ve seen? Meh. They’re nothing like as scary as Blood Diamond, The Constant Gardener or Schindler’s List.

Well, from a British male Anglo-Saxon (white German, in other words) point of view, anyway, Schindler’s List is a very scary film …

… because every time I look in a mirror …

I agree with Carol and Thomas — every Bible should come with a WARNING: Adult Content 18+ sticker on the front cover.

The more I read as I get older, the more I’m convinced that the Book of Revelation exists, and is the weird way it is, because John of Padymos was super pissed off at the Romans.

Still, I’d like to see a good theatrical movie done of Revelation. That is, if they can get Michael Bay to direct it…

There is one train of thought that says Revelations should be read like a science fiction novel – this is how it could go down if you don’t get your act together. It would be a pretty trippy movie.

Helping kids contextualize the holy text of the family religion is one of the core functions of parenthood. (Assuming the family practices a religion, naturally.) Therefore I’d say that both Thomas and Carol were let down by their parents to a certain extent. *shrug*


@Perfesser_Bear: Very yes on the Michael Bay Revelations movie! The whole exercise would be spiritually pointless, since the whole book is pure allegory, but it’d make one hell of a movie if they kept the original imagery and didn’t adapt it into something retarded. It’d also get all the psycho Christian people up in arms, which is always a hoot to watch. (I’m more of a laid-back Christian myself.)

Right! It would also be interesting if he cast it in the present day. People are going to complain no matter what. Look at the uproar over Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Aside from Gibson’s under-handed and heavy-handed antisemitism, there was a lot of kvetching because the dialog was in Aramaic, a language now spoken mostly by Middle-Eastern Christians but probably Christ’s everyday tongue. Has anyone ever filmed a Bible story following scripture exactly? The Bible thumpers would probably still bitch.

Quite apart from revelations, there’s a lot of rape and pillage in that book too.


You may find the first few minutes a major drag, but persevere (or skip to 6:00, I guess).


There are some real beauties in there.

As for Luke, the English name Luke comes from the Latin name Luc, meaning “Light,” but the people in the area where that book is set and at the time it’s set wouldn’t have been named in Latin. They’d have been named in the local language, Aramaic. Aramaic was still spoken, until recently, in a little village in Syria, but that civil war thing spoiled that. The most similar language to Aramaic you could generally find these days is Syrian dialect Arabic, in which the word for light is Noor. Noor is a name in Arabic. Like Sveta, Claire, Lucia and dozens more around the world, it’s a word for light that’s used as a *girl*’s name.

Makes it kind of funny when an organisation that claims to follow the example of Jesus refuses to allow women to be priests, doesn’t it?

If you are referencing the Gospel of Luke, current scholarship emphasizes the Greek origin of that Gospel. If you are referencing something else I missed it, my apologies. :)

I have these readers digest condensed books and I can’t figure out why Stephen king’s The Stand is so inconsistent with the “Lord of the Rings” or the chapter on “War and Peace”

what?! they are different books written by different authors during different time periods…
they still shouldn’t have any excuse since they weren’t even picked by a committee at the behest of a Roman emperor centuries ago so they should logically make sense when crammed together as a whole.

Well, hey, at least the fans of Night Waves and the fans of The Stand didn’t spend 100 years killing each other over the question of which is more true to Stephen King’s meaning.

Then we see modern heads of state going on and on about how religious they are and what wonderful people they are and how they did nothing wrong by making up a crock of lies as a pretest on which to destroy a country, massacre 600,000 civilians, steal a lot of assets and start a civil war that’s gone twenty-sided and got Russia and Turkey onto opposing sides.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Somehow, I don’t think Matthew would have liked Blair.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Nope. Wouldn’t have liked Blair at all.
“All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Seems much of the book of Matthew is basically “Be excellent to one another,” but without the electric guitars. Then lots of people who consider themselves Christians vote for Cameron or Trump or anyone else who promises to let no refugees in at all, slash benefits and make jails tougher …

I can’t find the scene from a Western (I *think* it’s Ten Bears in The Outlaw Josey Wales) with the line about raping and stealing and killing, but I did find this site:


The rulers who are not religious are doing the exact same things just with differing convenient excuses. frankly if you believe any ruler in the history of the world has ever or will ever do something for a reason other than their own personal gain then you are being rather foolish.

and a lot of people who are not religious at all are going to vote for Trump because he’s one of only two candidates with even the remotest possibility of fixing the economy before that agreement in the middle east where they can only trade oil for dollars (which we are enforcing with our military might) falls apart. It’s the only thing propping up the value of the dollar and thus the US economy in the face of our gutted industrial capacity and trillions of dollars in debt.
the other candidate is Sanders and I’d rather vote for the socialist jew because he has a better chance of actually fixing the problems, but Hilary has already all but bought her “democratic” party nomination and we already know what her politics are. or at least we should since she spent eight years in office already puppeting Bill and selling the US to China in pieces.

but all you can see is apparently hur dur Religion, you are blinded by the very hate you accuse others of and it’s quite likely we shall all pay for that lack of tolerance and basic understanding of the world in which we all live.

Oh, believe me, I see plenty.

Given the choice between two candidates who are pretty much identical except that one’s pretty well-known as a fan of Stephen King, Tolkein, Dostoyevsky, Raymond E. Feist, Orson Scott Card, Rudyard Kipling, James Herbert, Robert Ludlum, Azar Nafisi, Frederick Forsyth, Maya Angelou, Joanne Harris, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Jordan, Gary Gygax and Guy Gavriel Kay and the other one’s always made a really big deal out of how religious he is, I’d choose the book-lover. Ambitious, avaricious, back-stabbing, condescending, deceitful, duplicitous, egomaniacal, envious, foetid, gluttonous, greedy, hateful, horrible and hypocritical he may be, but at least he won’t be trying to do God’s work.

For what it’s worth, I try not to, in current US politics, apply the status of [this candidate or office holder is doing a [better] job of following a god’s moral code], than the other person[s].

I do like some philosophical people’s idea of- start all of your thoughts and actions with the goal of: Harm none.

I also like the idea of these three rules:

Try to do Justice, Love mercy, and try to do the [right thing] for all people…including yourself.

Go back and read it again. It is not the book of Revelations… It is The Revelation of Jesus Christ. It is who, what and why Messiah exists andwhat He will continue to do. Jus’ saying.

I remember hearing a story of a kid who refused to sleep because of the lord’s prayer, “if I should die before I wake I pray the lord my soul to take,” was interpreted by this 6 year old as “if I go to sleep god will take my soul and I will die.”
I answer the questions my kids ask about religion, but I don’t take them to church, if they want to find god, of any variety, when they are adults I’m fine with that, but I don’t want them to have faith because “daddy said so.”
I think a lot of folks who are religious don’t understand how learning works in young kids. They are knowledge sponges, but don’t have a BS filter yet, so anything they hear, especially from parents, is (bad pun) gospel. That is also why you hear folks talking about science as a religion, kids absorb stuff as “truth,” without the ability to take it out and look at it from various angles. Heck, the ability to understand imaginary creations (e.g. the X or Y in algebra) doesn’t develop until 10-12 years of age. Until then, if you say god exists, a kid thinks that god is a physical being that they can touch.

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